Warning: Devotional Writer at Work

The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares his role in the Daily Guideposts devotional writing.

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Julee and I had just finished a frank discussion resolving an issue we were having when she tapped my arm and said, “Don’t you dare turn this into a devotional!”

It’s that time of year again, when friends and family are wary of me, when even my dog is not safe and total strangers will unknowingly fall into my literary grasp.

Are we talking about a full moon? Halloween? No, we’re talking about my looming annual Daily Guideposts devotionals deadline.

Each year now for nearly 15 years I’ve contributed 10 or so devotionals to our popular annual book, Daily Guideposts. For those of you unfamiliar with Daily Guideposts—and I find that hard to believe, given your incredible loyalty to GUIDEPOSTS—the book is a community of writers who share intimate and uplifting insights about the joys and challenges of living a life of faith, hope and optimism.

Each devotional is a little GUIDEPOSTS story and readers always tell us it’s an amazingly inspiring way to start their day. Time and again they say that reading Daily Guideposts is like belonging to a fascinating, far-flung family.

It has that family feeling for me, too, writing for it. Except that I am what organizational psychologists call deadline-driven. Yep, that’s me. All year long I jot down ideas for devotionals, send emails and text messages to myself, even rough out an impromptu draft into my voicemail. I vow to get a jump on my devotional work.

But come fall, I’ve got to pull it all together and I am usually a few devotionals short of my quota and have forgotten half of what I wanted to write. That’s when I start looking around for material…and victims.

I’ll be having a perfectly ordinary conversation with someone when suddenly, I am told, I get this look in my eye and my fingers start to twitch. The person has said something interesting that my mind is beginning to process in a certain way.

“Oh, no,” the person will repeat the familiar refrain, “you’re not going to turn this into a devotional, are you?”

Of course not…unless it’s a really great idea. Actually, people don’t usually mind popping up in my devotionals and I would never write anything offensive or hurtful about anyone. If I didn’t have my friends and family and dogs and neighbors and colleagues and just about everyone else I can think of, I would have no one to inspire me.

A Daily Guideposts devotional is all about finding spiritual lessons in the everyday occurrences of life, those moment-to-moment stories that make up a day. And isn’t that what each day is? A new story about the opportunities we discover, the spiritual surprises that help us grow closer to God?

So really I shouldn’t be spending too much time on this blog with all my devotionals due (sorry, Andrew!). But for those of you who don’t read Daily Guideposts I’d love for you to get to know the family.

For those of you who do, I’d like to say thanks and I look forward to seeing you all in 2010.

P.S. What are the surprising little spiritual lessons in your day? I’d love to hear what inspires you.  

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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